The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) on Oct. 4, 2023*. This is inclusive of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), and a test alert will be sent to all wireless phones.
As one of several wireless carriers participating in this nationwide test, UScellular wants to ensure that everyone is aware and knows that there is no imminent danger and no action needed.
Beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET on Oct. 4, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible wireless phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA, should receive the test message.
The test message will state: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed." Phones with the main menu set to Spanish will display: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”
There is no charge to receive the message.
“Our participation in this test will provide valuable information on the effectiveness and reliability of these alerts, and we are proud to partner with FEMA and the FCC to ensure our customers receive them," said Rebecca Thompson, vice president of government affairs at UScellular. "We encourage you to have your phones turned on and available at the time of the test so you know what to expect in an emergency."
There are four categories of alerts sent through WEA:
National Alerts are a special class of alerts only sent during a national emergency.
Imminent Threat Alerts include natural or human-made disasters, extreme weather, active shooters, and other threatening emergencies that are current or emerging.
Public Safety Alerts contain information about a threat that may not be imminent or after an imminent threat has occurred.
AMBER Alerts are urgent bulletins issued in child-abduction cases. An AMBER Alert instantly enables the entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child.
This will be the third national test, and the second test to all wireless phones. The most recent test was conducted in 2018. More information is available at fema.gov.
* In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11.